Warm Memories and Greener Dreams: Parc-Extension’s Transition to a Sustainable Future

Warm Memories and Greener Dreams: Parc-Extension’s Transition to a Sustainable Future

In the heart of Montreal’s Parc-Extension neighborhood, a significant shift is underway. The city has recently adopted a new regulation that profoundly affects the way buildings will be heated, signaling a move towards greener, more sustainable practices.

The regulation, set to take effect in phases starting October 1, 2024, for small buildings and April 1, 2025, for larger constructions, prohibits heating appliances that emit greenhouse gases (GHGs) in new residential, commercial, and institutional buildings. This means that devices operating on oil, gas, propane, and biodiesel – common sources of comfort in many homes and businesses – will no longer be permitted in new constructions.

While existing buildings in Parc-Extension are not directly impacted by this regulation, the shift represents a significant change in the architectural and environmental fabric of the area. This transition, while environmentally imperative, carries with it a sense of nostalgia for the old ways of heating and the cozy ambiance they created.

The regulation details various aspects, distinguishing between small buildings (up to three floors and 600 m^2 per floor) and larger ones (more than three floors or 600 m^2 per floor). Exclusions apply to buildings with a complete building permit application submitted before the specified dates and those connected to an urban thermal network. Interestingly, in larger buildings, GHG-emitting devices may still be used if the emissions originate solely from renewable gas sources.

In special circumstances, such as extended connection times to Hydro-Québec exceeding 12 months, small buildings may also resort to GHG-emitting devices, provided there’s proof of renewable gas supply. The regulation outlines what is prohibited (like indoor combustion heaters and residential gas ranges) and what is permitted (such as emergency generators and commercial gas stoves in eateries).

With these changes, Parc-Extension stands at a crossroads between embracing a sustainable future and mourning the loss of a certain kind of warmth that once defined its spaces. The coziness of a gas fireplace or the familiar scent of a home-cooked meal on a gas stove are experiences that future generations might only know through stories, replaced by cleaner, albeit less tactile, alternatives. This transformation, reflective of a global shift towards sustainability, also marks the end of an era for the neighborhood, as it steps forward into a cleaner, but perhaps less cozy, future.